A good tomato sauce elevates your favorite home cooked Italian dishes. And while I like the convenience of a store bought sauce, most aren’t keto friendly and some are darn right expensive! You’re in luck. Homemade tomato sauce is delicious, economical, and you control the ingredients. It’s so easy to make a great low carb tomato sauce at home.
Learn how to make three great keto tomato sauces to use in countless recipes. I’ll also show you how to adjust the taste of your sauce and share many variations so you never get bored with your favorite italian dinner.
THIS POST INCLUDES AFFILIATE LINKS TO SHARE THE THINGS I LOVE.
Here are the three keto tomato sauces I’m sharing:
- Quick Skillet Keto Tomato Sauce with Fresh Tomatoes (2 cups)
- Quick Skillet Keto Tomato Sauce with Canned Tomatoes (4 cups)
- Traditional slow-cooked keto tomato sauce (in the recipe card) (8 cups)
Enjoy any of these homemade Italian tomato sauces on keto favorites like chicken cacciatore, low carb meatballs, spinach manicotti or easy chicken mozzarella. They’re also great in low carb lasagna, stuffed peppers and in Italian sausage pepper and onions.
Looking for a great Low Carb Keto Alfredo Sauce? My authentic tasting recipe is stable so it can be frozen in the recipes you love.
Quick Skillet Keto Tomato Sauce with Fresh Tomatoes (Recipe 1)
Yes, you can make keto friendly tomato sauce with fresh tomatoes. There are times I make a quick skillet sauce with fresh tomatoes when I need a small amount of tomato sauce for a particular dish. Fresh tomatoes contain a lot of water. The larger surface area of a skillet helps cut down on cooking time by allowing more evaporation to occur, concentrating flavor.
It’s best to squeeze out the jelly and seeds from the tomatoes to eliminate excess water before cooking.
- 4-6 large Italian plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
- 1-2 cloves garlic, sliced
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp dried basil
- 1/4 tsp dried oregano
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Optional: Fresh basil sprig, Fresh parsley sprig
Slice tomatoes in half crosswise and squeeze seeds and jelly into the trash. Dice tomatoes or pulse them in a food processor or blender. Slice the garlic and add it to the cold skillet with 1 tbsp of olive oil. Turn the skillet to medium heat and gently cook the garlic stirring occasionally, until the garlic softens a bit and the oil is flavored. Add the tomatoes, dried basil, dried oregano and salt. Stir and simmer hard for several minutes to encourage the tomatoes to break down and the extra water to evaporate. Towards the end of cooking, add fresh herbs and cook until wilted. Remove the herbs before using. Taste to adjust seasoning.
Makes approximately 2 cups and yields 4, 1/2 cup servings.
(See below in the post for variations and how to adjust taste.)
NOTE: Fresh tomatoes are still covered in their skins, which separate from the flesh and curl while they cook, leaving tough little bits in the sauce. Most people don’t mind but some individuals may be sensitive to the extra insoluble fiber. In this case, using whole peeled tomatoes in a can may be kinder on the stomach.
Quick Skillet Keto Tomato Sauce with Canned Tomatoes (Recipe 2)
This keto tomato sauce uses canned San Marzano Tomatoes for convenience. Cooking it in a large skillet cuts down on time but not on flavor. Make sure to choose a good quality brand like Cento or San Marzano with tomato puree added.
- 28 oz can Whole San Marzano tomatoes with puree
- 1 cup (8 oz) Water or chicken broth
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1-2 tsp low carb sweetener
- 3/4 tsp dried basil
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Optional: Fresh basil sprig or Fresh parsley sprigs
Crush tomatoes by-hand or pulse them in a food processor or blender for a smoother consistency. Slice the garlic and add it to the cold skillet with 1 tbsp of olive oil. Turn the skillet to medium heat and gently cook the garlic stirring occasionally, until the garlic softens a bit and the oil is flavored. Add the tomatoes, dried basil, dried oregano, and salt. Fill the can 1/4 full with water and add it to the skillet. Stir and simmer hard for several minutes to encourage the tomatoes to break down and the extra water to evaporate. A splatter screen is nice to use. Towards the end of cooking add the fresh herbs and simmer until wilted. Remove the herbs and taste to adjust seasoning.
Makes approximately 4 cups and yields 8, 1/2 cup servings.
How to Adjust the Taste of Your Keto Tomato Sauce
We’ve all seen the words “taste and adjust seasoning” in recipe instructions, but not everyone knows how to do that. Here is how I adjust the taste of my keto tomato sauce recipe.
- BLAH: If the tomato sauce tastes “blah”, add more salt until it tastes good but not salty. Add a-pinch-at-a-time for smaller quantities of sauce and salt 1/4 tsp. at-a-time for larger recipes.
- DULL: If the sauce tastes dull, add a squeeze or two of lemon juice to brighten.
- NEEDS TO BE SWEETER: To sweeten, add 1-2 teaspoons of low carb sweetener.
- TOO ACIDIC: If the tomato sauce tastes too acidic add 1/4 – 1/2 of teaspoon baking soda for smaller recipes and 1/2 -1 teaspoon for larger quantities. It will foam while the acid reacts with the soda. This is nice for those sensitive to acidic foods. IMPORTANT! Do Not add baking soda to any sauce that you intend to preserve by CANNING as it will lower the PH and can lead to bacterial growth.
- NEEDS TO BE RICHER: Add 1/2 – 1 teaspoon of Better than Bouillon Chicken base or Beef base.
- Add a little extra virgin olive oil for a fruity-rich flavor or butter for a sweet-rich flavor
Keto Tomato Sauce Variations
These variations are best on smaller amounts of sauce, approximately 2-4 cups of sauce. Scale up for larger amounts of sauce.
- CREAMY SAUCE – Add a few tablespoons of heavy cream.
- BLUSH SAUCE – Half keto tomato sauce half low carb Alfredo sauce
- BOLOGNESE – Before starting the skillet sauce with fresh tomatoes (recipe 1), saute 1/4 cup each diced onion, celery, carrot and the sliced garlic. When softened, add 1/4 cup dry red wine and reduce by half. Then add 1/2 tsp beef broth and continue with the sauce recipe.
- PUTTANESCA – To 4 cups of your favorite keto tomato sauce, add ¼ cup green or Kalamata olives, ¼ tsp red pepper flakes, 1-2 tsp anchovy paste and 1 tbsp drained capers. Thin with water to create a thin but flavorful sauce.
- MEAT SAUCE – Brown ground beef (turkey), or Italian Sausage, leftover cooked chicken, pork chops, beef short ribs, or seafood. If browning meat, then do this step first. If cooking meats in the sauce, add them after the sauce comes to a simmer. If adding previously cooked meats to the sauce, add them towards the end of cooking. (Mom used to put leftover pork chops in the sauce and it was delicious!)
- VODKA SAUCE – After cooking the garlic, remove the pan from the heat and add 2-3 tablespoons of vodka (be ready for flames just in case) and swirl the pan to burn off the alcohol. Put the pan back on the heat and continue with either of the skillet tomato sauce recipes.
- FLAVORING YOUR SAUCE WITH WINE – Add 1/4- 1/2 cup dry red or white wine to skillet or pot after cooking the garlic. Cook until the smell of alcohol evaporates, then continue with either of the keto skillet tomato sauce recipes.
- FLAVORING YOUR SAUCE WITH VEGETABLES – Saute sliced Mushrooms, diced green bell pepper, diced onions, or fennel with the garlic then continue with your tomato sauce recipe.
Storing, Freezing & Canning Keto Tomato Sauce
Refrigerating Homemade Keto Tomato Sauce: Refrigerate your keto tomato sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Freezing Homemade Keto Tomato Sauce: Freeze your sauce in clean airtight containers, up to 3 months.
Canning Homemade Keto Tomato Sauce:
- PINT – Add 1/4 tsp. citric acid or 1 tbsp. bottled lemon juice* per pint.
- QUART – Add 1/2 tsp. citric acid or 2 tbsp. bottled lemon juice* per quart.
*Why bottled lemon juice? Fresh lemons vary in water and acid content while bottled lemon juice has the same amount of acidity every time.
Keto Tomato Sauce (Marinara)
- 4 Quart Pot
- 2 (28 oz) cans whole peeled tomatoes with puree
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, sliced
- 1/2 medium onion, peeled but left intact
- 1 1/2 tsp dried basil*
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano*
- 1/2 can water (fill one of the tomato cans half way)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tbsp low carb sugar (Sukrin :1. Swerve, Lakanto, Besti, Truvia)
- 1-2 large sprigs fresh basil (optional)
- 1-2 large sprigs fresh parsley (optional)
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Slice garlic and place into pot with olive oil. Turn the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally until slightly softened and the oil is flavored.
- Meanwhile, open the tomato cans and pour the tomatoes into a blender or food processor and pulse to break-up the tomatoes. Pulse more for a smooth sauce and less for a chunky sauce.
- Pour the processed tomatoes into the pot with the garlic and add the half onion, dried basil, dried oregano, salt, sweetener, and half a can of water.
- Simmer for 1 hour. Then add the fresh basil, parsley, and Parmesan cheese. Simmer for 30-60 minutes more or until it's as thick as you like. (You can tell it's thickening because the consistency will look a little syrupy when the bubbles break upon the surface. Remember that the sauce will thicken further upon cooling and refrigeration.)
- Remove the onion, and sprigs of fresh basil and parsley before serving or cooling and storing.
- Makes 2 quarts or 8 cups. Serves 16. Each serving is 1/2 cup and 3.5 g NET CARBS each.
- ****See post for ideas on adjusting taste per you and possible sauce variations.****